How to Clean Spilled Antifreeze

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Things You'll Need

  • Rubber gloves

  • Kitty litter or sand

  • Paper towels

  • Soap

  • Water


Rinsing antifreeze or liquids tainted with antifreeze down the drain is illegal in many communities.

Though labeled nontoxic, propylene glycol antifreeze is simply less toxic. Animals can still become sick if they drank sufficient quantities, according to EPA.


As little as one teaspoon of antifreeze can cause irreversible damage to a cat or dog's liver and other internal organs.

If any human or pet ingests antifreeze, seek immediate medical attention for that person or animal.

Puddles of spilled antifreeze are harmful to groundwater and potentially fatal to people and -- especially -- household pets. There are two types of antifreeze: the greenish-yellow ethylene glycol type, which has a sweet flavor and is toxic when ingested; and the pink or orange propylene glycol variety, which is somewhat less poisonous. If you spill either type in your garage, driveway, patio or home, clean it up promptly.

Step 1

Confine pets away from the area of the spill until it has been fully cleaned.

Step 2

Pour kitty litter, sawdust or other absorbent material on the spill immediately. Allow the material to absorb as much of the antifreeze as possible.

Step 3

Slip on a pair of rubber gloves. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, antifreeze can be absorbed through the skin and cause damage to internal organs. Pick up and discard the absorbent material using paper towels.

Step 4

Clean the spill area vigorously using soap and warm water. If the spill is in the garage or outdoors, you can hose the remaining suds and water into your lawn. Rinsing it into the lawn allows the soil to filter the toxins before they reach groundwater, while if hosed into the street it flows directly into storm drains. If the spill is indoors, sop it up with paper towels and discard them into a sealed plastic bag. Do not rinse the water and suds down the drain.

Step 5

Immediately secure the used paper towels and absorbent material where it won't be disturbed by animals until it can be picked up with the rest of your trash.